Another year, another free laundry bag.
A week ago, I returned once again from the greatest conference known only to college event planners, student life proponents and all-around permanent students who only know how to drink and sway listlessly to music. A conference that creates wondrous memories and also deletes potential wondrous memories, depending on the amount of free alcohol consumed. A conference so great in scale and entertainment, that it's at least one hundred times better than this one.
Yes, last week was another edition of COCA (Canadian Organization of Council Activities), this time in Ottawa, the capital and home to an NHL team that can't even get to game 7 before they lose in the Stanley Cup finals (losers). This was the third conference that I managed to sneak past security for, and I couldn't have been happier with the results of the six days there. This COCA may well be my most favourite yet, due to musical showcase quality, good people and the amount of sweat produced when no sweat should be produced (like when standing still). The whole point to the conference is to bring together individuals, schools and companies that are related to the campus entertainment and programming industry and get them networking, friend-raising, and generally truth-spewing drunk. Therein lies the fun. It's truly great to be with many like-minded individuals, regaling tales of wonderful campus events, sharing innovative ideas and concocting wild, insane beliefs that this is the year their school will be immortalized for bringing U2 to play.
I was lucky this year. Again. It seems that I've been in the right place at the right time for the last two years in order to attend this conference. And I couldn't be happier, and to my place of employment, SA MacEwan, I give a hearty salute. To them, I lift my free rum and cranberry juice-filled Festival Promotions water bottle to them, and say "Thanks for settling with me as your representative! I promise that I'll now come in before 10am to keep your trust."
Here's some memories:
- The 98% humidity. The 30+ degree temperatures. No A/C in the hotel. Yeah, this wasn't cool at all (no terrible pun intended), and it made for a most uncomfortable stay, especially since I thrive in colder climates (I live in Edmonton by choice, kids). However, the topper is the hotel staff telling us to "turn your thermostat all the way to HOT to get colder air out of the vents". If that isn't the most unintentionally hilarious piece of hotel damage-control B.S., I don't know what is. After complying with their "advice", I managed to flood half my room. Thanks, dorks.
- The Showcase Talent. I don't want to play favourites, so I'll say that every single band, artist, comedian, lecturer or variety entertainer was 10 pounds of awesome in a 5-pound bag. That being said, here's my favourites (in chronological order), and friendly links for you to check them out. Creature, The Carps, Brendan McKeigan, Dan Mangan, Darrin Rose (thanks for the shout-out!), The Coast, Hey Ocean, Hey Rosetta!, God Made Me Funky (two years in a row!), The Johnstones, and every artist in the singer/songwriter showcase (Craig Cardiff, Colin Munroe, Jessica Rhaye, Robyn Dell'Unto, Lesley Pike and Casey Desmond).
- The Random Word Game. Pretty much self-explanatory. People do weird things while drinking, and if you're trying to come up with clever dialogue with which to contribute to a discussion, sometimes you just get one random word out. If random enough, you might drag some others along for the ride (thanks Courtney, Jenna and Sameena!). Example: You say "clouds". Someone else says "credenza". Another person says "muskrats". You say "earlobe". Someone says "this is retarded".
- The Canadian Heritage Commercial Recollection. Similar to the Random Word Game, on many a night, I found myself drinking and probing people's minds for crazy things. One thing I couldn't get enough of, was asking people what was their favourite Canadian Heritage commercial moment. The answers were excellent, but even more so, was the startling realization that I can pretty much recite the ones I know by heart. I watch too much TV. But you know what? I'm fucking learning. So there. My favourite moment? "But I need these baskets back!"
- Shelly Climbing A Tree Outside Algonquin College. Man, she fucking got up there quick. And high!
- Post-Hospitality Room Parties In The Breakaway Tours Hotel Room. This is where much free booze was consumed, and many inane, yet hilarious conversations about nothing were conducted. This room introduced many of the revelers to the "quiet coyote", which was dedicatedly used to quiet the masses after numerous hotel security visits. I can only hope that Lora has managed to regain her sanity after the coyote was less than successful. I was quiet, Lora, but mainly because my voice is so low that it appears to most people as if I'm just mouthing words.
- The Worst Named Candy Ever. Honestly, whoever in Cadbury's Maynards marketing department thought of this is probably a pervert. Or a satirical genius. I'm guessing a pervert.
- Being Called "The Biggest Disappointment Of COCA 2008". Fine, so I didn't go "pool-hopping". So fucking what? This is what I get labeled as for not wanting to put my clothes on while soaking wet? Thanks for the confidence boost, Guillaume. I'm a bigger downer than no hotel air-conditioning. Yay.
Have another memory, my dear fellow COCA-goers? Let me know!